Monday morning one of the subcommittees of the Simpson County Development Foundation held their quarterly meeting, the Simpson County Council of Governments.
The purpose of the group is to form a coalition between various public bodies in Simpson County. Initially, program speakers were to be State Rep. Price Wallace, District 77, and Sen. Chris Caughman, District 35. Because of a previous engagement Caughman was unable to attend the meeting. Filling in for him was Rep. Noah Sanford, District 90.
Both of the House members discussed the committees on which they serve.
Wallace discussed some of the pending bills that have gotten out of committee, which means they may be voted on though they may not necessarily be taken up in the State Senate.
Wallace said they were sworn into office on January 7 and that the last day for a bill to come out of committee to be considered was last Tuesday, March 2. He said one of the bills now under consideration is Senate Bill 2257, which allows the government to review tax returns of people who are receiving governmental assistance. If you participate in food service programs, this bill, if it becomes law, may disqualify you because of income level. Wallace said this is causing dissension in the House, but the opposition was expected. He says he supports the bill because he wants to see people who really need assistance get it.
We, too, feel that this is a worthy piece of legislation because if you are going to accept government assistance you should follow the state’s income guidelines.
Rep. Sanford discussed issues from the committees he serves on, one of the biggest being Judiciary B Committee. He said prisoner care was an issue that the committee spent a lot of time discussing. He said there are currently 19,000 inmates in the state. and that the only part of the corrections budget that has been reduced is personnel because the system does not have enough people working for the number of prisoners they deal with. He noted that many of the guards are female, which is not a good situation when dealing with some of the criminals they are forced to deal with.
He said one of the options is to have parole offered at an offender’s home because of the cost of housing inmates.
Sanford addressed the teacher shortage and said that some of the requirements are being reevaluated in light of the shortage of qualified people for the profession. In addition, he said there is legislation that addresses continuing education, which will in turn help recruit staff for the vocational programs.
The Council of Governments is just one of the many opportunities the Simpson County Development Foundation offers to its membership. If you have questions or would like more information you may contact the Foundation at 601-847-2375.